How to Use WordPress CMS (Beginner’s Guide)

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WordPress is one of the few things in the world that doesn’t need an introduction. It is the best content management system (CMS) in the world.

It helps to create, manage and customize your blog. WordPress is free and an open-source project. WordPress has its own ecosystem that contains thousands of free themes, plugins, widgets and other tools.

Currently, WordPress is powering more than 35% of websites on the web.

Let’s see various aspects of WordPress CMS.

What is a CMS?

A CMS or content management system is an application that capable to create, modify and publish digital content.

It also supports multiple users and allows them to work in collaboration. You can create many administrators, moderators, and users in WordPress CMS.

CMS

CMS also includes text and formatting features and the ability to upload photos, videos, audio, maps or even your own custom code.

The three most popular content management systems (CMS) in the world are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

People often confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Sometimes people also use it interchangeably. But there are some major differences between them.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is also known as “the real WordPress”. This is the popular website and blog platform that you have heard all the great things about.

When someone saying “WordPress” only, then assume it as WordPress.org.

It is open-source software and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need to have is a domain name and web hosting. You have the freedom to customize it according to your needs. Hence it is called as self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a hosting service. It was founded by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg.

Because of the same founder and name, people often confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

It works very similarly to other hosting companies. Unlike other hosts, WordPress.com has a free plan that provides you 3 GB disk space to host your website. You can use it to create a blog for free. But never use the free plan as it has serious limitations.

I personally never recommend using WordPress.com hosting plans.

I use and recommend A2 Hosting for their amazing service and support.

So let’s proceed with our discussion on WordPress CMS.

I am assuming that you have installed WordPress in your hosting and ready to use.

The WordPress front end and backend

WordPress CMS has two major areas. One is the front end and another one the backend.

The front end is what your blog visitors see when they landed. These things contain fonts, themes, design, plugin functionalities, etc.

The second one is the back end. This is also known as the WordPress Dashboard. This allows you to manage all the functionalities of your blog.

Here is a cool demonstration of the front end and back end of a blog.

front end and back end

You can customize your blog by adding a new theme, new plugin or various other multimedia.

In order to access the backend of your site or WordPress dashboard, you need to type: example.com/wp-admin in the address bar of your browser. Then you need to log in using your WordPress username and password. You have the username and password at the time of installing WordPress. So you are the administrator of the blog.

Once you log in, now you are inside the WordPress dashboard.

WordPress dashboard

WordPress dashboard consists of three main parts: top toolbar, left side menu, and middle section.

The left side menu contains all the admin options. This column includes menu options for various sub-areas.

Updates

Find various update related information like WordPress version update, and theme, plugin updates.

Posts

View all blog posts (blog content), add a new post to your blog, view and create categories, view and create tags.

Media

View your media library, upload images, videos, documents, mp3/mp4 files, etc.

Pages

View and add various pages to your blog.

Comments

Mange your comments using this section. You can approve, reply or delete new comments on blog posts and pages.

Appearance

Manage themes, customize your blog design (it depends on the theme you are using), manage widgets, manage various menus items and edit your blog’s header (it depends upon theme).

Plugins

Manage and add new plugins to enhance various functionalities.

Users

Manage users, add new users, assign them various roles, and update your profile.

Tools

This section helps to import and export content to the WordPress blog.

Settings

Edit general blog settings, reading settings, writing settings, media settings, discussion (comment) settings, and permalinks (URL structure of your blog).

In addition to the general menu items listed above in the left-hand column, you’ll also find other menu options for various plugins you have installed. It can be added to any existing standard or creates a new menu item anywhere in the left-hand column.

Left-hand column menu items

Let’s analyze each left-hand column menu item in detail.

Updates

WordPress releases minor and major updates at regular intervals. The update brings new features, bug fixes, security updates, etc.

If any update released by WordPress and you would be get notified in this section. Otherwise, you can enable the automatic WordPress update.

In addition to that, you would get various themes and plugins related updates if available.

Posts

The posted menu allows you to manage old content and add new ones. Published blog posts are listed in descending order.

In the Posts menu, you will get the following options:

All Posts

All the posts you have added in the backend would be visible here. You can use the quick edit section to edit single or multiple post categories, tags, status, author and ability to comment. Otherwise, you can edit individually by clicking on each post.

Add New

This option allows you to add a new post to your blog. You will also get this option inside existing posts as well.

Categories

Edit and add new categories to your blog. View all of the categories you have created.

Tags

Edit and add new tags to your blog. You can also see all the existing tags you have used in your blog.

Media

This is your WordPress media manager. You can upload rich media content like image, video, audio files, documents, etc.

You can add new media files, preview, edit and delete them.

In the Media menu, you will get the following options:

Library

View all of the media files you have uploaded to your WordPress blog. It would be shown in the grid view layout.

Add New

Add new media files like images, videos, etc to your WordPress blog.

Pages

Pages in a blog provide static information to users. In a WordPress blog, usually, the page is about us, contact us, privacy policy, disclaimer, products, services, etc.

In the Pages menu, you will get the following options:

All Pages

All the pages you have added to the WordPress dashboard would be visible here. You can edit or delete them from here.

Add New

Add a new page to your blog.

Posts vs Pages

Post and pages have their own uses and can’t be used interchangeably. Although they have many similarities, there are some differences as well.

Pages are not part of the main blog content. It is used for the static purpose. If you have a blog on travel niche, you would write posts about your latest travels and trips. You would create pages for contact, about your blog, etc.

Posts are part of your main blog content. It would be shown in the latest blog posts sections and RSS feeds.

Comments

In this section, you can manage various comments on posts and pages. Comments are great ways to engage with your blog readers.

You can approve new comments, edit and delete. There is also automatic spam filtering that filters spam and bot comments.

Appearance

In this menu, you would find various design-related options. You can search and install new themes for your blog. According to your theme, you would find various visual customization options.

In the appearance menu, you will get the following options:

Themes

Using this option, you can search and install new themes. If you have downloaded or purchased a theme from somewhere else then you can upload the zip file here.

Customize

Depending on the theme, you would get various customization options. You can customize title and tagline, background image, favicon, static front page, color, font size, and featured content.

Widgets

Depending on your theme, you can add various boxes in different places of your blog. Widgets can showcase social media links, categories, a search bar, subscription links, tags, about the text for the blog.

Menus

According to your theme, you can add one or more menus.

Header

Depending on the theme you would get the option to add a header image. The size varies from theme to theme.

Background

Depending on the theme, you can change the background color and add a background image.

Editor

The editor is for advanced users and requires coding knowledge. In this section, you can edit the source code of the theme.

Plugins

Plugins add various new functionalities to a blog. It can extend the theming capability and helps to customize your blog.

There are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress repository.

In the Plugins menu, you will get the following options:

Installed Plugins

In this section, you would find all the plugins that you have installed on your blog.

Add New

In this section, you can add new plugins. You can also upload a plugin in zip format.

Plugin Editor

Like theme editor, this plugin editor is for advanced users and requires coding knowledge. In this section, you can edit the source code of any plugin.

Users

In this section, you can add new users to a WordPress blog. You can assign various roles to each user. Here’s the list of roles:

Administrator

This is the highest role in WordPress. Users having this role can all the actions in a blog. The user can do anything as he/she has the highest level of access. Don’t assign anyone this role if you have not high trust.

Editor

A user with editor role can access and edit all posts, pages, tags, categories, comments, and links.

Author

A user with the author role can edit and publish posts, upload media files. But an author can only have access to edit his/her posts.

Contributor

A contributor can write and edit posts. But can’t publish a post.

Subscriber

A user with a subscriber role can only read and comment on posts or pages.

Tools

With the help of tools, you can perform some extended tasks in your WordPress blog.

Available tools

Under the thin section, you would get an option called “Press This”. It helps you to clip texts, images, etc. quickly and easily.

Import

This option allows you to import data from other blogging platforms.

Export

This feature allows you to export the blog content. Then you can import and install on new WordPress install. This is very helpful for blog backup.

Site Health

With the new WordPress 5.2, this is the new feature. It checks various aspects of a WordPress blog and provides a percentage score.

Export Personal Data

This is a security feature added to WordPress due to the GDPR rule. With the help of this tool, you can send personal data to your user on demand.

Erase Personal Data

This is also available in WordPress due to the GDPR rule. With the help of this tool, you can delete the personal data of users on demand.

Settings

This section controls all the settings of your WordPress site.

General

This section contains the basic settings for your WordPress site, including the site name, URL, date format, description, timezone, and main administrator email.

Writing

This section allows you to set default categories and post format. If you assign any, then WordPress would automatically assign one.

Reading

Using this section, you can set the home page of your website. It may be a static page or the latest blog posts.

Discussion

This option allows you to set a default setting for your WordPress comments. You can set the comments automatically approve or manually.

Media

This allows you to set the default size of the upload files. The upload size also varies from hosting to hosting. You can change this option in cPanel as well.

Permalink

This section allows you to customize the URL structure of your website. Here you can set a default URL structure for posts and pages.

Conclusion

These are things you need to know about the WordPress CMS. In the beginning, it seems quite difficult. Once you start using this platform you would know how simple it is. You can easily manage your blog using WordPress.

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Bibhu Prasad Bal

A professional blogger, content writer, and a tech-savvy guy. He loves to explain stuff in a simple way, no matter what and how complicated it is.

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